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Clemson Puts “Utility” Back in Sports Utility Vehicle

by Kenny Hoeschen

A group of students at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research have taken the BMW X3 compact SUV and created a design concept that returns it to vehicle ready to actually do some work. With a split, swing-open tailgate and a retractable rear window panel, the SUV, called “Deep Orange 4,” becomes a wide-open carrier that can handle a pretty good amount of cargo. The vehicle also incorporates a small rear window that is deployed during the transformation to keep the passenger compartment sealed.

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The team began with a market analysis to identify the needs of consumers, then proceeded to engineering and building the concept vehicle. It’s capable to transform from a typical SUV to a cargo-carrying vehicle. They also considered how the manufacturing of the vehicle could fit with BMW’s existing automotive plants and processes.

Take a look at a time-lapse of the build process and see more about the design of the vehicle and Clemson’s partnership with BMW in the in-depth videos below. Deep Orange 4 is now on display at the CAR Group Management Briefing Seminar in Michigan.

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